Tom Key is wholly at the disposal of his many roles.
on the surface of it, a “cotton patch” rendering of the gospel might appear to be an unlikely business. After all, the gospel is surely a simple enough affair for us all to understand, and it is no harder for us to shift our imaginations over to first-century Palestine than into Oz, or Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. We are the sort of creature who likes to be beckoned away to some other time and place. Otherwise, what is the attraction of “Once upon a time in a far off land”?
However, there is another element at work in the gospel. How shall we say it? We might attempt it thus: even though all stories are in one sense or another “the story of my life,” yet the gospel really is that story. The places (Bethlehem, Bethany, Caesarea Philippi, Golgotha, Olivet) are there in Palestine, but they are also real points in the experience of the Christian soul. The geography of the gospel is at one and the same time the geography of the heart. And this is true of the events that occur in the story: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Epiphany, the presentation in the temple, the fasting in the desert, the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension—they are all events in the pilgrimage of the Christian soul.
If this is true, then there is no end to the ways in which this story may be translated into local and personal situations. There is a paradox here, of course. An Eskimo or a Saxon peasant or a Bantu or a Young Life kid may be helped by having the story told in familiar pictures that touch on his own life. But on the other hand, he must also be told what a sheepfold is, or what a cross is. Those elements must always be there, one way or another. So we may say that the story is infinitely “translatable,” ...1
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